How To: Fix the “No iSight Camera Detected” error message on your MacBook - Macenstein

How To: Fix the “No iSight Camera Detected” error message on your MacBook

MacBook No Camera error iChat

In my continuing quest to offer obscure tech tips that will probably only help one other person in the world, today I’d like to tell you how to fix the “No camera detected” or “Cannot find iSight Camera” message I suddenly got today. I say “today”, but really I use the video chat feature so rarely on my late 2008 MacBook Pro that for all I know it hasn’t been working since I upgraded to Lion last year. But anyway, the gist of it is iChat, Photo Booth, and QuickTime all for some reason did not see my iSight camera. The audio for the camera seemed to work fine, but the green light would not light, and depending on the application, the error message ranged from “The iSight camera is in use by another application” to “There is no camera connected”.

MacBook No Camera error Photo Booth

MacBook No Camera error QuickTime

The fix, it turns out, was relatively simple. All you need to do is reset your SMC. What’s an SMC? It’s the “System Management Controller” in all Macs, and it controls a lot of the little hardware things that can go wrong in your Mac, like the fans running too hard, or maybe the backlight keyboard not working, and, apparently, your MacBook forgetting it has a built-in iSight camera. Just for fun, Apple made the process of resetting the SMC different for each Mac, but in general it all comes down to unplugging your machine from a power source for a certain amount of time, sometimes holding in the power button when the computer is turned off, etc. You can find instructions for resetting the SMC on your specific Mac here, but in my case I lucked out as I have the last MacBook with a removable battery – so all I had to do was shut down my laptop, remove the battery, count to 20, spin around, put the battery back and power it back up. BOOM. Camera works fine. And, it could be my imagination, but the computer is running a bit cooler as well despite my fan running quieter. So it’s probably a good idea to reset your SMC a couple times a year as part of your regular system maintenance. Give it a try, and let me know in the comments if you’re the one other person on the planet this tip helps.

65 Responses to “How To: Fix the “No iSight Camera Detected” error message on your MacBook”
  1. Eve says:

    Thanks! I also have a removable battery and this worked perfectly!

  2. MB says:

    😀 Thank you so much!!

  3. Lily says:

    I reset the SMC, twice actually, and it did not work, it still says I have no camera connected. Any tips?

  4. buckdodger says:

    up until yesterday, photo booth hasn’t worked since 2008 or 2009, even had it at the genius bar and they couldn’t fix.. nothing all these years, then all of a sudden i am looking at myself!? still don’t know why but hey it worked! did a little experimenting and all was good…. until i lost battery power and gone again. i figured there had to be some app or something interfering since the hardware obviously works. found your tip … took off the battery… and voila, it is working!

    thanks so very much! 😉

    • This trick actually worked. I wanted to see if it would work or not and initially I though ti failed but after a reboot of my system, the green light for the web cam came on at the OS login screen! Cheers to you Dr. Macenstein!!

  5. cm says:

    this has not worked for my early 2011 13″ MCP.
    i have replaced the camera.
    still not working.
    Do i have to physically remove the battery or will disconnecting it do the trick?

  6. I’ve got the same issue on MacBookAir 6.1 running Sierra 10.12.2.

    SMC reset didn’t fix. Did both normal and extended resets.
    VRAM reset didn’t fix.
    OS X clean reinstall didn’t fix.

    AHD sees the camera and passes all extended tests.

    OS X fully updated, no extra software installed.

    So if AHD sees it, it means the Apple BIOS sees it hence hardware is fine. So, issue is software and the only installed software is Sierra (clean install)

    Anyone know of any other tools I can use to do more tests? maybe a unix diagnostic tool I can boot with from USB?


    • CR34T1V0 says:

      you can try this, close all applications, open terminal and digit those commands:

      clerar (hit enter)

      sudo killall VDCAssistant (hit enter, type administrator passwordand and re-hit enter)

      open the app that not see the webcam and check if all is working, if it not work digit this command too:

      sudo killall AppleCameraAssistant (hit enter, type administrator passwordand and re-hit enter)

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